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Today In Charleston History: January 19


Four sailors allegedly “attacked a gentleman on the Bay, supposed with the intent to rob him.” The victim retreated to his store, “where he not only…defended himself, but…at length beat them off.”  No comment 😉


Langdon Cheves was elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, replacing Henry Clay.

Langdon Cheves

Langdon Cheves

Cheves was born at Bull Town Fort, on the Rocky River in South Carolina.  At the age of ten he went to Charleston to earn a living, and at sixteen had become confidential clerk in a large mercantile house. In 1797 he was admitted to the bar to practice law. In 1808 his yearly income exceeded $20,000, making him wealthy for his time. He also became Attorney General of South Carolina, serving until 1810.

In 1806 he married Mary Elizabeth Dulles, of Charleston and was elected to the  U.S. House in 1808.. Cheves soon distinguished himself as the best orators in Washington. His speech on the merchants’ bonds in 1811 was so eloquent Washington Irving, who was present, said for the first time it gave him an idea of the manner in which the great Greek and Roman orators must have spoken.

Cheves became the ninth Speaker of the House on January 19, 1814, and served until March 4, 1815, when his Congressional term ended.



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